Flex promises a ‘tampon’ you can wear during sex

The Flex menstrual disc.
Image: Flex

First there were THINX, the period panties.

Now, Flex, another startup trying to change how women deal with their periods every month, has raised $1 million.

Flex makes menstrual discs. The product most resembles a menstrual cup like the Diva Cup, but is meant for one-time use like a tampon. The disposable disc sits up toward the cervix, collecting all menstrual fluid.

The biggest draw Flex promises is that the menstrual disc provides “mess-free period sex.” Women (or anyone having a period) can keep the disc in during sex, and it’ll contain all bleeding.

The company also says the discs aren’t linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome, the infection women can get from wearing a tampon for too long.

Menstrual products are subject to regulations from the Federal Drug Administration. The FDA has extensive guidelines for pads and tampons and categorizes menstrual cups as a category exempt from certain regulations. There is no category for menstrual discs, an FDA spokeswoman said, and those devices would be regulated as menstrual cups.

Flex submitted itself to the FDA, in fact, as a menstrual cup. The company recently acquired its competitor Softcup, allowing it to corner the market on menstrual discs.

Flex raised $1 million in funding this month in a round led by a Bay Area startup incubator, according to Crunchbase.

While its website is full of testimonials gushing over the ease of using Flex and how it makes sex more enjoyable the product hasn’t started shipping to customers yet.

Maybe the menstrual disc could change how women approach sex during their periods for those who do avoid it, the product has potential to make things more comfortable.

Until Flex becomes more widely available, you can order a sample online for $3.95 in shipping and handling, or preorder a subscription for $15 a month.

Or you can order a uterus crop top. Or both.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/08/12/flex-menstrual-disc-funding/

What can football managers teach business? – BBC News

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Managers in the Premier League face a level of scrutiny that would make your average chief executive shudder. So with the new season upon us, what can the guy frantically gesturing on the touchline teach us?

We asked professors at some of Europe’s leading business schools for their business lessons from football management.

You can see part one of their advice from the first 10 club managers here. Here’s part two.

Manchester United – Jose Mourinho

Will the arrival of the turnaround specialist at Old Trafford see the return of winning ways at Manchester United?

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Jose Mourinho has a proven track record of achieving results in the first two years after taking the helm at a new club, but a question mark remains about his ability to build an enduring legacy of success.

A lavish spending spree shows his ability to attract talent, including this week’s signing of Paul Pogba for a world record 89m.

For Dirk van Dierendonck at the Rotterdam School of Management, the bigger challenge is to now ensure that his star recruits live up to their eye-watering salaries.

“In any business you have to differentiate between hiring someone and getting them to perform.

“From fund managers to footballers, these individuals can make millions elsewhere so you are paying what they think they are worth. But a manager cannot assume that they will immediately click – they have to fit with the team’s culture or style of play.”

Van Dierendonck says that Mourinho needs to give his players a sense of doing something for a greater good.

“People are incentivised because they feel a strong alignment with a club or company and their teammates. If life is just about making money then you are missing something. You also need to feel joy in what you are doing.”

Middlesbrough – Aitor Karanka

From the tea lady to the trainees, Aitor Karanka insists on professionalism and a winning mentality from everyone at the Riverside.

Image copyright Getty Images

With inventive training methods and shrewd pre-match preparation, he is clearly a disciple of his former boss Jose Mourinho. And much like his mentor, he also has a temper and has fallen out with some of his players on the way to the Premier League.

Those dressing room wounds can take time to heal, and any business leader needs to carefully manage the delicate balance of their team, according to Prof Josep Franch at Esade Business School in Barcelona.

“You are bringing together a diverse mix of personalities, and have to build trust to maximise their performance. This is particularly true for the younger team members, and a good manager will help them to keep their feet on the ground and focus on the challenge at hand.

Franch’s best advice to move beyond a tempestuous time, and put potentially damaging confrontation behind you is to keep an open dialogue.

“A manager needs to sit down with unhappy staff and put things in order by setting clear expectations. They need to come away with the understanding that you are trying to bring out the best part in them.”

Southampton – Claude Puel

Claude Puel is unknown to the Premier League, but what we do know about his managerial past in France suggests that he has been appointed because he is unlikely to indulge in any major changes to Southampton’s successful approach to top flight football.

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But what can leaders in the business world learn from the Saints?

“We all know that securing and retaining the best talent can be the key to real competitive advantage,” explains Sonal Minocha, pro vice-chancellor at Bournemouth University.

“What this often leads to is a constant, unimaginative fight over a relatively small number of individuals and bidding wars which push salaries ever upwards.”

Southampton have stepped away from this by conducting in-depth research into the talent market and using the knowledge they gain to target less obvious players, who they can pick up fairly cheaply and then invest in their training and development.

The custom-built, high-tech suite known as the “Black Box” is at the heart of their recruiting and assessment approach. Software is constantly fed with statistics, scouting reports and staff input, and helps the club to target players who fit “the Southampton way”.

“Understanding that ‘best suited’ and ‘most high profile’ don’t necessarily mean the same thing is something that many business leaders should be thinking about too,” Minocha reminds us.

Stoke City – Mark Hughes

Boil down the basic principles of successful football management and you come back to the idea of telling your team to score more goals than the opposition.

But what if you want to do so with style?

Image copyright Clive Brunskill

Under Mark Hughes’ predecessor, Tony Pulis, Stoke City were known for their combative approach, but since taking over the club three years ago Hughes has set about changing the playing style to introduce a greater level of finesse.

And as the Potters complete a decade of Premier League football this season, Hughes can point to three consecutive finishes in the top half of the table, with more possession, more shots per game, and more goals than before.

Changing the underlying culture and approach of any business is among the hardest challenges for a manager. Harvard Business School (HBS) professor John Kotter has spent a lifetime observing leaders and organisations as they were trying to transform their strategies, and he identifies eight steps to successful change.

They include the need to build a sense of urgency that will inspire people to move, and clear communication to get the buy-in of both staff and directors. And then you don’t let up, showing persistence to make change stick, and reinforcing the approach through recruitment.

HBS and consulting firms such as McKinsey charge a small fortune for such advice. As one of the lowest paid managers in the Premier League, Hughes looks like one of the best signings Stoke have made.

Sunderland – David Moyes

Dubbed the “Chosen One” when he first took over at Manchester United, David Moyes endured a gruelling 10 months before being relieved of his duties.

Image copyright Getty Images

A dismal Spanish hiatus followed at Real Sociedad. But now Moyes is back in the Premier League with Sunderland, and all eyes will be on him.

For Chris Carter, chair in strategy and organisation at the University of Edinburgh Business School, Moyes was handed a poisoned chalice when he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson.

“Moyes is a highly intelligent man and would have been aware of the dangers associated with the succession.

“Replacing a long-standing leader is always fraught with danger and seldom ends well. But it can also be compounded when succession planning involves leaving the decision to the departing manager.”

The Van Gaal years may have painted Moyes’ tenure in a more positive light, suggesting the problems at the club were perhaps more deep-seated than originally thought.

“But,” says Carter, “his fundamental failing was not developing a clear enough story about himself to stop the fans and changing room dwelling on the legend of his predecessor. At Sunderland, he needs to ask: what makes him different? And why should people believe in him?”

Carter calls Moyes an “authentic football person” and part of a proud history of successful Scottish managers at the top of English football, with a “guy next door persona”. He thinks these are useful tools to build goodwill and Moyes needs to take advantage of them.

Swansea – Francesco Guidolin

With a coaching career that goes back more than 30 years, Francesco Guidolin took on his17th team when he joined Swansea in January 2016.

Image copyright Getty Images

Over three decades he has built a reputation for a studious, hyper-tactical mind, and as a keen amateur cyclist he is not afraid of taking the harder path if that means it will toughen up his players.

Indeed, Guidolin is credited with discovering what is now the most difficult stage of the Giro d’Italia cycle race when he took his players into the mountains for training.

Andrea Masini, dean of the MBA programme at HEC Paris, says Guidolin is not afraid to change his tactics to adapt to the players at his disposal. “He uses a system of continuous improvement and quality management rather than radical transformation.”

Masini also points to Guidolin’s technique of setting ambitious but achievable targets as a valuable leadership lesson.

“Once the team has achieved the target he then pushes the bar a little higher. A 10% improvement on a measurable goal then leads to the next 10% improvement. Each small step is validated by data and instills the belief in his team that they are going to make the impossible possible.”

Tottenham Hotspur – Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has gained respect for getting the best out of young players. He is particularly credited with developing several academy players all the way into the first team at both Tottenham and Southampton.

Image copyright Getty Images

For Dr Chia-Jung Tsay at the UCL School of Management, hiring wisely and nurturing young talent are critical to the success and even viability of an organisation and its people.

And she says that a focus on training produces desirable results. “This can offset the human bias shown in hiring, and underscores the critical role of mindful hard work, not just the sheer natural talent that may sway scouts and recruiters alike,” she says.

Tsay also believes that any business can benefit from greater investment in homegrown talent and efforts to keep that talent. She points to recent investment analysis that suggests star performers often suffer a decline in achievement after a move.

“Given that top performance may not be entirely portable, businesses can do well to consider Pochettino’s example, and examine how they can better support the development of their own star performers.”

Watford – Walter Mazzarri

If the chief executives of publicly listed companies think that their position is tenuous they might spare a thought for football managers.

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The revolving door hasn’t stopped spinning at Vicarage Road, where new Italian coach Walter Mazzarri is the eighth manager in the last four years.

So how do you build a strategy when you are sitting on the ejector seat? Andrea Masini at HEC Paris says that Mazzarri needs to secure a few quick wins to buy time for the future.

“You cannot start planning for the long term without some early successes. That means immediately focusing on your strengths, and differentiating your strategy with each game or market you operate in.

“As the underdog playing away against one of the big clubs your goal should be to impress with the quality of your game, to build momentum and a positive mood in your team.

“For the easier matches at home you can be more careful with your tactics to make sure you secure valuable points.”

The same approach can work in business, explains Masini. “You can be aggressive with a diversification strategy into new markets or new products while exercising greater caution in your main market or your core products, which are the basis of your activity.”

West Bromwich Albion – Tony Pulis

The multi-billion pound broadcast rights that make the Premier League the most lucrative in the football world mean that for many managers their first priority is to avoid relegation. Call it the survival instinct.

Image copyright Getty Images

And if there is one manager in the Premier League who has earned a reputation for survival management that man is Tony Pulis of West Brom.

Pulis is perhaps the ultimate example of a leader who ignores any ideas of sophistication or showing off, but who believes in getting the job done.

His adherence to the “long ball” style of playing has earned him many critics but it has also allowed him to save struggling clubs such as Stoke, Crystal Palace and now West Brom on what can only be described as “shoestring” budgets relative to the competition.

For Prof Simon Mercado at ESCP Europe it’s an approach that can work just as well in business. “Too many corporate leaders fall prey to the latest fad or to a desire to demarcate themselves clearly from their predecessors or peers. And all too often the results are mediocre, if not downright disastrous.

“Better, perhaps, to stick to the basics, to the tried and tested, which you know from experience will work.”

West Ham – Slaven Bilic

Perhaps the most well-known aspect of Slaven Bilic’s management style is his faith in the power of music as a relaxant and a motivator. Players are encouraged to listen to inspiring pieces during training and before taking to the pitch.

Image copyright Getty Images

But while background music is common in many companies in the creative sectors and on factory floors, few business leaders in the West seem keen to follow their opposite numbers in Asia with the introduction of company songs.

So in the absence of music, Prof Simon Mercado at ESCP Europe says that the real lesson corporate leaders could learn from West Ham is the club’s expertise in growing its own talent.

“Practically every team in the Premier League pays lip service to this idea and consequently academies which encourage and foster emerging talent are commonplace.

“However, by grasping that investment in this area is essential and that it produces talent that is not just of high quality, but is also completely attuned to the aims, values and approaches of the club, West Ham have created an academy which is second to none. An academy which has produced the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe to name but a few.

“And it’s something that can definitely be duplicated in the corporate world if the same level of commitment and investment is available.”

So which management style will come out on top this season?

Whoever wins, there is one ingredient for success that Andrea Masini says we all need, and that is luck. In 2010 Claudio Ranieri came within one game of lifting the Italian title, but his luck ran out.

Business schools have not yet found a luck-generating model that they can share with football managers, but, Masini says, they are actively working on it.

This is part of the BBC’s regular series, Business Brain. You can read more here.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37034103

‘Pokmon Go’ Brings Life Back To Struggling Local Ice Cream Shop

Pokémon Go had a sweet effect on one Washington small business. 

Mad Hatter’s Ice Cream, which had been struggling after a host of challenges, recently saw its business boom. And the shop, located in the city of Anacortes, owes it all to Pokémon Go.  

Mad Hatter’s found itself in close proximity to a number of Pokéstops, attracting avid Pokémon trainers to its cool treats. Owner Gary Dear told KING 5 that he’s shocked by the app’s positive impact. 

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expected it to end up like this,” said Dear, a Navy veteran. He added, “The Pokey light shines down on me!”

The shop, a destination for Pokmon masters.

The proud owner told The Huffington Post in an email that because of the app, there’s been an increase of people at the shop at all hours. It’s even doubled and tripled sales on some nights. And they’ve not only been visiting the shop, but also bonding with one another over ice cream. A few tried to teach Dear a thing or two about the game as well. 

The surge in patrons comes as a relief to the shop. Dear explained to HuffPost that he’s experienced several hangups with his business. The shop, which opened back in 2010, observed its busiest days on Saturdays. However a market ended up taking over the street in front of the shop on every Saturday, dramatically affecting the store’s business. 

The shop also had to close temporarily as Dear, who has complex regional pain syndrome, dealt with the condition, a chronic pain which developed after a surgery. But luckily the timing was such that Mad Hatter’s happened to reopen about week before the app launched, and Dear enjoyed a happy return.

Though Dear said he’s still trying to understand the game, he’s looking into creating some Pokémon names for menu items. So maybe you’ll be able to order some Machoplate Chip in the future. 

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pokemon-go-brings-life-back-to-struggling-local-ice-cream-shop_us_57adec0be4b071840410f232?section=&

Trump Says Only Way Clinton Can Win Pennsylvania Is If ‘They Cheat’

Republican Donald Trump on Friday said the only way Hillary Clinton can win Pennsylvania is if “they cheat,” and backed away from comments calling President Barack Obama and Clinton the founders of the Islamic State militant group.

At a rally in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Trump said that he expected a victory in the state.

“The only way we could lose, in my opinion — I really mean this Pennsylvania — is if cheating goes on,” Trump said.

He said he wants authorities to monitor the voting closely. “I know what’s happening here, folks. She can’t beat what’s happening here.”

“Go down to certain areas to and watch and study and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times,” Trump told the crowd.

Newly released polls show Clinton leading Trump in the state.

“She can’t beat what’s happening here,” Trump said of Clinton. “The only way they can beat it in my opinion, and I mean this 100 percent, if in certain sections of the state they cheat.”

A new poll showed Trump, whose unfiltered speaking style has repeatedly landed him in hot water, losing ground in three crucial states ahead of the Nov. 8 general election against Clinton.

At an earlier event in Erie, Pennsylvania, Trump seemed to acknowledge he is facing a formidable opponent in Clinton as well as a difficult electoral path.

“The Republicans have a tougher path – not my fault,” he said.

He said Clinton’s campaign is smart to keep her out of the spotlight.

“She doesn’t talk to reporters very often. … She doesn’t expose what’s going on up here, which isn’t good,” he said, referring to her brain. “She’s doesn’t expose her mind to questions. What they want to do is try to fake it through.”

In a surprise appearance, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who in private expressed fury over some of Trump’s actions earlier this month, introduced the candidate at the Erie campaign event and the two hugged onstage.

“We’re so honored to be working with Donald Trump and the campaign,” Priebus told thousands of Trump supporters.

“And don’t believe the garbage you read. Let me tell you something. Donald Trump, the Republican Party, all of you, we’re going to put him in the White House and save this country together.”

Republican sources earlier this month said Priebus was furious over Trump’s failure to endorse House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and his feud with the parents of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq. Trump did endorse Ryan a few days later.

Trump brought Priebus in Altoona, to thank him for the work he has done as he insisted there is great unity in the party.

“I have to say we have great unification,” Trump said.

Trump on Friday told the rallies in Altoona and Erie that his remarks earlier this week calling Obama and Clinton the founders of ISIS, as Islamic State is also known, had been sarcastic.

“I have been saying because it’s true, but somewhat sarcastically, that he’s the founder of ISIS and she’s a close second,” Trump said in Altoona.

Trump first made the unfounded claim on Wednesday and repeated it through the week.

Trump claimed sarcasm in July as well after he was heavily criticized for inviting Russia to dig up tens of thousands of “missing” emails from Clinton’s time as U.S. secretary of state.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll released on Friday suggested support for Trump is eroding among voters in three battleground states.

Such states are hotly contested because their populations can swing either to Republicans or Democrats and thus play a decisive role in presidential elections, which are ultimately decided by the state-by-state tally of the Electoral College.

The poll found Clinton widening her lead in Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina, while holding her advantage in Florida.

Clinton released her tax returns on Friday, painting the move as a sign of transparency that her campaign says Trump lacks.

U.S. presidential candidates are not required to release their tax returns, but it has become a common custom.

Trump has cited an audit by the Internal Revenue Service in refusing to release his returns. Trump also has said his taxes are no one’s business and that they reveal little.

Trump scheduled a speech in Warren, Ohio, on Monday that will focus on how he would handle the threat posed by Islamic State. Trump has said he would “knock the hell out of ISIS,” without offering details.

Trump has been mired in repeated controversies in recent days. He drew heavy criticism after he suggested gun rights activists could take action against Clinton, a statement he later said was aimed at rallying votes against her.

Nearly one-fifth of registered Republicans now want Trump to drop out of the race for the White House, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

Republicans frequently trace the birth of Islamic State to the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw the last U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011.

But many analysts argue its roots lie in the decision of George W. Bush’s Republican administration to invade Iraq in 2003 without a plan to fill the vacuum created by Saddam Hussein’s ouster. It was Bush’s administration that negotiated the 2009 agreement that called for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011. 

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Luciana Lopez in New York and Ginger Gibson and Amanda Becker in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-clinton-cheating_us_57ae6359e4b07184041193eb?section=&

Would Trump be big winner under his tax plan?

(CNN)Now that Hillary Clinton has released her 2015 tax returns, and her running mate, Tim Kaine, has released a decade of his returns, the Twilight Zone that is Donald Trump’s tax return release position has gotten even more shadowy.

There are two key lessons in this.
    For a start, Trump continues to assert that he will not, cannot or should not release his returns while they are under audit. This has always been a bad argument, legally and factually. But logic never quiets Trump and team. Indeed, Trump’s in-house legal adviser, Michael Cohen, has recently repeated the fallacies, claiming it would be “malpractice” to advise Trump to release his returns while they are being audited.


    The impact of Trump’s tax plans on The Donald himself? We cannot tell, because we do not have his tax returns. What returns we do have, from the 1970s and 1980s (and a hint from the 1990s), show that Trump paid little to no taxes, taking advantage of tax breaks available to real estate dealers. Trump’s plan doesn’t appear to address any such breaks. Indeed, it lowers taxes especially on high earners — which may or may not include Trump.
    Trump does tout how he is closing the “carried interest” loophole that Wall Street hedge fund managers use to reduce their taxes, but it is not clear that their taxes will in fact go up at all. It is also not clear if any of this is relevant to Trump, personally.
    So Trump may be a big winner under his tax plan — perhaps because he pays little taxes now, and his plan would do nothing at all to change that happy (for him) fact. Regardless, the point — for all of us — is that we’ll never know. Apparently, it’s “none of our business” if Trump’s tax policy would benefit Trump himself.
    Trump and his fellow Republicans like to lambaste Clinton for her alleged “pay-for-play” schemes. Is Donald Trump paying to become president so he can play trickle-down-tax-policy for himself and his family, to make the Trump brand rich again? If that sounds crazy, then Don’t-Disclose-Donald can prove it is indeed crazy by one simple step — releasing his returns.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/12/opinions/clinton-trump-tax-plan-mccaffery/index.html

    Fox News gets new presidents after Roger Ailes resignation

    Ailes, who turned Fox into Americas most popular conservative news channel, resigned in July following allegations of sexual harassment

    Rupert Murdoch has named company veterans Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine as co-presidents to lead Fox News after chief executive officer Roger Ailes resigned last month following sexual harassment allegations.

    Abernethy is chief executive of Fox Television Stations and Shine is senior executive vice president at Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox.

    Both men worked at Fox when it launched in 1996. They will report to Murdoch, who has been running the day-to-day operations of the cable network on an interim basis. The appointments are effective immediately, Fox said.

    While this has been a time of great transition, there has never been a greater opportunity for Fox News and Fox Business to better serve and expand their audiences, Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and Fox News, said in a statement.

    Ailes, who turned Fox into Americas most lucrative and powerful cable news channel for conservatives, resigned in July following allegations of sexual harassment.

    Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes last month, claiming sexual harassment. Ailes has denied the charges. Fox hired a law firm to conduct an internal investigation.

    New York magazine followed up with reports of other women who said they had been harassed by Ailes. The magazine also said popular Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had told investigators hired by Fox that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about 10 years ago. Ailes has denied those charges as well.

    By choosing two men who worked under Ailes for years, Fox sent viewers and advertisers a message of continuity in an important election year, said Merrill Brown, who helped launch MSNBC and is now director of the school of communication at Montclair State University.

    But that strategy could carry risk if the independent probe reveals the harassment allegations were known to more people at Fox, he said.

    The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that Twenty-First Century Fox anticipates having to settle with the women who said they were victims of harassment by Ailes. The number of women who have come forward in the internal probe are in the double digits, the paper said.

    A representative for Twenty-First Century Fox did not immediately return a call for comment.

    Abernethy, 60, will continue to run Fox Television Stations and will oversee all business components of Fox News Channel and Fox Business News, including finance and ad sales.

    Shine, 53, will run all programming and news functions of each network including production and talent management. He will also continue to oversee all strategic planning through the election season.

    Fox News also named Suzanne Scott as executive vice president of programming and development for Fox News Channel and said Chief Financial Officer Mark Kranz was retiring.

    When Twenty-First Century Fox reported earnings last week, it said Fox News was on track to record its highest-rated year ever. When Co-Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch was asked if Fox News would change its strategy, Murdoch said:

    There is no desire or need to shift the position it has in the market.

    Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox ended down 14 cents, or less than 1%, at $26.02 on Friday.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/aug/13/fox-news-gets-new-presidents-after-roger-ailes-resignation

    Now’s a good time to buy TVs and computers, according to Adobe

    Prices are down for electronics and other non-essentials.
    Image: Getty Images

    Hey big spender.

    Now is a good time to buy products that aren’t necessities, according to new data from Adobe that measures the digital US economy.

    Prices are down for discretionary spending, which includes non-essential products like electronics, toys and sporting goods. At the same time, prices for necessities are following regular inflation patterns.

    “Consumers think prices are always going up, but the reality is for discretionary, spending prices are actually down,” said Luiz Maykot, a data science analyst at Adobe Digital Insights. “That’s good for consumers, but not for the feds.”

    This data comes from Adobe’s Digital Price Index, a project the company started six months ago that measures inflation and other trends in the US economy. The statistics are comparable to the federal government’s Consumer Price Index, which is the standard measure for inflation.

    Adobe harnesses this data through its digital marketing branch, which sees aggregate data for trillions of online transactions through the many retail and travel sites it powers. Adobe says it measures 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 US retailers.

    The immediate information allows Adobe’s DPI to sometimes capture economic trends more quickly than the traditional CPI, which relies on a sample of transactions and takes longer to adjust.

    In July, deflation for computers was 12.8 percent compared to last year and computer prices were down 1.2 percent compared to last month. Deflation for televisions was 20.2 percent compared to last year, and prices were down 2.1 percent just compared to June. Besides electronics, toys were down 6 percent year over year and flights were down 4.4 percent.

    That means it’s a good time to buy those luxury goods, or basically anything except groceries and medicine.

    The official CPI for July won’t be released until August 16, and it might not show the same fluctuation in prices. But if you trust Adobe, buy now.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/08/11/adobe-dpi-july/

    Watchup wants to master streaming TV news to your smartphone

    Watchup wants to master streaming TV news.
    Image: alexander nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

    Watchup, the once-buzzy news video streaming service, is trying its hand again at the news game with a relaunch this week.

    The new app emphasizes speed, with the company claiming to get users to video three times faster.

    Founded in 2012, Watchup gained some attention in 2014 when it was named one of the best apps of the year by Google. In the same year, the company raised $3.75 million in funding, according to Crunchbase.

    In the two years since, Watchup has flown under the radar.

    The company announced Wednesday it was relaunching with a new version of its app “just in time for the final stretch of the election cycle.”

    Watchup streams 164 news channels from around the world. It personalizes what a viewer sees based on their interests and favorite channels. The app is free for users.

    Short videos from different stations including BBC, Al Jazeera, Fox News, CNBC and CNN populate the user’s feed and stream one after the other like a constantly changing news broadcast.

    “Theres a lot of demand and need out there for serious, trusted sources of news content but people are used to, and rightfully expect, to be able to watch everything in the same place,” Watchup founder Adriano Farano said in a press release.

    No one has truly mastered news video online, particularly for smartphones. Watchup hopes to be the one to translate traditional TV news to on-the-go streaming.

    It started off strong in 2014. Now it’s time for the second go-around.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/08/11/watchup-news-video-relaunch/

    Adblock Plus has already cracked Facebook’s ad blocking restriction

    Image: Associated press/jeff chiu

    Just days after Facebook declared war on ad blockers, Adblock Plus claims to have found a way through the social network’s defenses.

    The widely-used service has added a new filter that can purportedly identify and shut out ads on the site despite Facebook’s efforts to make doing so much more difficult.

    “Well, that was fast,” Adblock Plus spokesman Ben Williams said in a blog post announcing the update on Thursday.

    But there may be a hitch; Facebook quickly fired back with its own statement claiming that the method Adblock Plus is using also hides certain ordinary posts along with the ads.

    “We’re disappointed that ad blocking companies are punishing people on Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson said in the statement. “These new attempts don’t just block ads but also posts from friends and Pages. This isn’t a good experience for people and we plan to address the issue.”

    “Ad blockers are a blunt instrument, which is why we’ve instead focused on building tools like ad preferences to put control in people’s hands,” the statement continued.

    Facebook announced on Tuesday that it had found a way to circumvent ad blockers in order to show desktop users ads regardless of whether they have the software installed.

    The move was a major salvo in the war between ad blockers and the websites that claim their livelihood is being destroyed by them. While plenty of online publishers have barred ad block users or appealed to them to turn the software off, Facebook is by far the biggest company yet to join the battle, and its stance among the most aggressive.

    Adblock Plus, which is owned by German software developer Eyeo and boasts an active user base of 100 million people, responded the same day with a passive-aggressive statement titled, “Oh well, looks like Facebook just got all anti-user.”

    Facebook was originally able to subvert ad blockers by taking out the code that distinguished ads from other posts on the site (though the “sponsored” tag still appeared for users).

    But AdBlock Plus evidently spotted another type of indicator in the code that blew their cover.

    Still, Williams is doubtful that AdBlock Plus will get away with it for long.

    “This sort of back-and-forth battle between the open source ad-blocking community and circumventers has been going on since ad blocking was invented,” he wrote. “So its very possible that Facebook will write some code that will render the filter useless at any time.”

    Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/08/11/facebook-adblock-plus-ads/

    2 Women Show Up And Say Theyre From Child Protective Services, But Mom Has A Bad Feeling

    Amanda Walker knew something was off, but she didn’t quite know why. One day she received a phone call from a woman saying she was from Child Protective Services.

    The woman said someone claimed that Walker had neglected her children. This was already a point of confusion. The woman on the phone told her she should expect a visit.

    A few days later, two well-dressed women came to her door. Then,things got suspicious.

    “‘We are here to investigate you and the children and maybe we have to remove the children from the premises,’” Walker said. “I said OK, then I started freaking out. I hadn’t done anything.”

    The women didn’t show any ID or have business cards, they merely showed her a piece of a paper they said was a court order to search the house. The woman began taking photos of her house and her sleeping 1-year-old son. They even began to touch him…

    “Lift up his leg. Look at it. Lifted up his arm. Look at it. I said, ‘He’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with him.’ I was really scared when they touched him that they were going to take him,” she said.

    The women left and said they would be back. Walker called the police. When the cops contacted CPS, they didn’t have a case for the Walkers.

    The same thing happened to another mother, April Faulkner. A woman came, said she was with CPS, and tried totake her baby.Faulknernoticed there were no police officers with her and slammed the door right in the woman’s face, then reported her to the police!

    Faulkner and Walker shared theirstories to warn other parents: always ask for proper identification and verify these visits by calling CPS yourself.

    Please SHARE to warn others about this potential stranger danger!

    Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/fake-cps-worker/